Australia cruised to a 34-run win against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the first ODI of the series. While there were plenty of talking points from the hard-fought chase of Indians against the retro-clad Aussies, one particularly struck as out of the ordinary. It was Ambati Rayudu being reported for the suspect bowling action.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been on the guard to strike out the bowlers with illegal action. As per the cricket authority, an illegal bowling action is where a player is throwing rather than bowling the ball. This is defined by the ICC as being where the player’s elbow extends by an amount of more than 15 degrees between their arm reaching the horizontal and the ball being released.
In 2014, ICC had a severe crackdown on the off-spinners and the likes of Saeed Ajmal, Sachithra Senanayake, Mohammad Hafeez, Marlon Samuels etc. were barred from bowling. While India has seemingly been steering away from the bowling controversies, there have been a similar few incidents recorded in the Indian cricket.
Here are five Indian bowlers whose bowling action was reported to be illegal.
#4 Harbhajan Singh
India’s highest wicket-taking off-spinner debuted for the country at the tender age of 18. Harbhajan’s bowling action was promptly under suspicion. Later in 1998, he reached Lord's to seek help from the former England offspinner, Fred Titmus. The Turbanator was cleared in just two days of remedial work. The bowler resumed and kept capturing wickets in a heap.
The ghosts of illegal action came back to haunt Harbhajan Singh seven years later. It was during the second Test between India and Bangladesh at Chittagong. The off-spinner’s usage of doosra came under the scanner of match umpires, Aleem Dar and Mark Benson, and the ICC match referee, Chris Broad.
There were unofficial reports suggesting an elbow flex of 22 degrees.
In 2005, Harbhajan Singh worked with biomechanics expert from Western Australia University and managed to get his action cleared from ICC. A clean chit from ICC resulted in India regaining it’s finest off-spinner.